Like so many shows of the 1950s (including the powerhouse that was I Love Lucy), Gunsmoke had its roots in radio. From those roots, grew a sturdy series. The television western ran from 1955 to 1975 and is one of the longest-running prime time series (tied with … wait for it … The Simpsons), and the second-longest running prime time fictional program in U.S. television history, surpassed only by the Disney anthology television series and Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Along with the life and death struggles to settle the American West in and around Dodge City, Kansas, Gunsmoke is also responsible for dealing a shot to the heart of another classic television program. Gilligan’s Island was cancelled to make room on the schedule for the show.